As a military veteran who spent 12+ years in Army during the cold war (6 in Germany and was there when the wall fell), this was like coming home again. The characters were very well defined and colorful. If you like Clancy you'll love this book. I will read others by this author. What else can be said about Scott Brick but awsome!!! I am an admitted "Brickaholic". He's never let me down yet, one of the best.
This book is far and away the best "spy" book I've ever read/heard, and one of the best books (out of 49, all unabridged) I've ever downloaded from Audible. If I could give it more stars I would. As of the date of this review, it is the best book by Littel available here. (There is a new one out but I'v not yet read it.) The narration by Scott Brick is PERFECT for this book. His style fits this type of book very well.
The book spans the cold-war, following several characters across a great many years. It is "historical fiction" as it draws on the facts of history throughout. I've seen this book in paper, and it's huge. As an unabridged audio book, it's long. But I was completely drawn in from the beginning and it never felt like it should have been shorter, which I cannot say for every book I've read/listened to. (Anyone want to buy my doorstop er... I mean my hardback copy of Cryptonomicon? Too long by HALF at least!) This book was marvelous for my long commute. Highly recommended. 10 stars out of 10!!
I found the first several hours a bit slow. Never boring, but it only had me mildly interested.
But then it really picked up and never slowed down. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
I usually buy my books with the credits on my account, but I didn't have any left for this book. This one was well worth every penny. I learned about events that were given one paragraph in my history book. The characters seem to come alive with the narrator's skill. Don't miss this book!!
This book was wonderful! I was leery of investing my time in such a large book (that follows characters over roughly 40 years) but I found myself wishing that it was longer. I was actually sad when I started the last section of the audio book because I knew that it was almost over. Highly recommended.
wow, what a great listen! I was sooo sad when the book came to an end. 40 hours seems long, but it slips by quickly once you start to listen. A definite buy!
I'm of an age that a lot of what happens in this book is in my memory files...The Bay of Pigs, Kruschev, Sam Gianacana, and more recently, Gorbachev's Russia.
There were long hours of this book when I couldn't put it down and stayed awake into the night just to hear what happened. There were a few slow passages, but in a 40 hr. book, what can one expect? Generally the characters felt like friends and I did like how he made some of the Russians into likable, real people, even if they were on the other side. Except one, Starek.
Starek's pedophilia was all the more creepy and disgusting because Littell didn't make it mean and sordid, but almost used a jovial and endearing tone when writing those parts of the book. "Come here my girlies." After listening to those parts, I felt like I wanted to wash my hands. I wonder after what real person was he patterned?
The one and only failing I have with this book is that the narrator made everyone with an accent (even Cubans and Guatemalans) sound like NYC Russian Jews. And after about 30 hours, that got to be a little grating. But the story eventually would pull me back in and I would listen with my own accents as filters.
I won't say what character dies in the coup against Gorbachev, but I did go online while reading that part and what Littell describes is exactly what happened during the coup. Which blurs the line between fiction and fact in this book all the more.
I very often got online and read about the events happening in the book. That really enriched the book for me. Filled in the holes, so to speak.
I plan on another listen in a couple of months. I think it will be like the LeCarre books; after you read them again, you find even more layers and shadings and subtleties that led the story to where it was going.
And I freakin' loved Turetti, the drunken old brilliant genius sot.
This is a good book. Buy it!
As one of the other reviewers noted -- your family will always see you with your headphones on as you listen to this book.
Though long, the story keeps the reader engaged. The story line is great, the characters are believable, and the narration is superb. I highly recommend the book.
I was hesitant to listen to a book this long but when it ended I wanted more. This book follows the same CIA officers through recruitment after WWII through the 1980's. You come to know them and relate to them. The book is easy to follow and holds your attention. As always Scott Brick does an outstanding Job!